Is it Too Late to Apologize? 

Is it Too Late to Apologize? 

There is much to be said about apologizing to people, only too little too late. Sometimes, it feels like apologizing for things in the past is irrational. What good can come from basically saying ‘I’m sorry,’ but for something so long ago memories get clouded by time. When offering an apology, it is not just the apology itself. It is the words and actions that help move us past the situation to greener pastures where the person who was offended needs to rebuild trust in order to feel safe again. It is never too late to apologize, it is just a matter of how to do it properly.

When People Are Hurt

Anger clouds discernment when people say things or do things that hurt others. While there may be apologies, it is not always easy. Doing this opens up the risk of being confronted with anger and resentment by the person offended. They may begin to wonder if it is the truth or what the words are all about. THe secret to offering or accepting an apology is the intention behind it. Intention is about:

  • Apologizing from the heart
  • Not doing it to get forgiveness 
  • Letting go of anger and bitterness to find healing

How to Apologize

It is never too late to step back in time and offer apologies for ways people were hurt when you were addicted to drugs or alcohol. There are some starting principle steps to encourage you to think ahead and step your apology game up:

  • Ask: when you ask the person if you apologize, you are letting them know you see them. You let them know you honor their experience and want to make it better by asking forgiveness for your past hurts towards them. Those offended will want to hear from you how you hurt them so they know what you think you did and how to accept the apology in question
  • Tell: when you express regret, you tell them you know what you did is wrong and, yet, you value those feelings. When you express your wishes to turn back time and change the behavior, you;re telling them that you believe what you did was hurtful and you are sorry
  • Make it right: it is not possible to right a situation. When possible, do everything you can to make what happened right again. The person offended may choose the outcome they want to see but at least you will have the opportunity to make it right to them

The final step is the most important. It is to live out the apologies, regrets, and solutions outlined. When you seek forgiveness, they may seek something in return from you. They may want you to do something to make up for it like write a letter or express isn’t another way your pain over the situation. Don’t hesitate to ask them what you can do but also know that you don’t have to keep apologizing for the same things, which may end up hurting your relationship more than help it. Over time, the forgiveness will either be enough or it will not. Don’t kick yourself if you feel it is not on their end and you need to cut ties or stay a distance away for a time. In time, maybe they will come around and be able to accept it more fully. Give everyone the chance to feel what they need to feel at their own pace. The healing journey will look different for everyone but at least you made the effort for yourself. That is all that matters.

We know apologies are hard. The Palmetto Center can help you navigate those apologies and regrets from addiction with support from our team. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.